Summer CSA Week 10, 2022

The crew preparing to harvest carrots with THE HARVESTER.

Last week was a big week for the Food Farm crew: we harvested our long awaited garlic! You’ll find more pictures and descriptions of that process below. We also brought out the carrot harvester, which is efficient but requires many hands to run smoothly. Boxes are filled with high summer bounty. New this week you’ll find green peppers and GARLIC! The garlic in the box this week is “green” or not yet cured. It should be left out on the counter with good ventilation so it does not mildew.

Would you like to come see the farm at peak season? You’re in luck! We are hosting a farm tour and pizza dinner on Saturday, August 27th! Come by the farm at 2612 County Road 1, Wrenshall from 4:00pm to 6:00. We’ll be serving pizza hot from our wood fired oven and giving farm tours. Free for all to attend, we’d love to see you!


In your share this week:

Basil – Beets – Cabbage – Carrots – Cucumber – Dill – Green Garlic – Green Pepper – Green Onion – New Potatoes – Parsley – Tomato – Zucchini


What am I looking at?

This is a swarm of honey bees seen near the farm hives recently. When a hive gets large enough it splits into two distinct colonies. During this process, part of the hive leaves as a swarm to find a new home. These swarms are often very docile because they are not guarding honey or a queen, but always be careful around bees, especially if there there is a chance you could be allergic.


Cucumber and Tomato Salad

From Claudia Roden’s Mediterranean

Ingredients

  • Cucumber (peeled, seeded and cut into pieces)
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and cut into pieces
  • green onion
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • small handful of fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, dill, cilantro) chopped

Instructions

  1. Put cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to make a dressing. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Sprinkle with the herbs and add feta if you like.

Basic Pesto

We have garlic AND basil in the box this week. The only option is to make pesto 😉

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (no stems)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Combine basil leaves, pine nuts or walnuts and garlic in a food processor and process until very finely minced.
  2. With the machine running slowly dribble in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Add the cheese and process very briefly, just long enough to combine. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

From NYT Cooking


What is Harvesting Garlic Like?

Step one: Janaki uses the tractor to mow and subsoil the garlic. The subsoiler has big hooks that dig down between the garlic rows, loosening the soil and lifting up bulbs.

Step two: Bring in the farm crew! We pull the garlic and stack it up in piles. These piles are then loaded on a trailer and brought to the wash station.

Step three: Scrub-a-dub. The garlic is washed, removing any dirt that’s still on the bulbs.

Step four: Stack and cure. In order for garlic to last into the winter it must “cure” or partially dry for a few weeks.

Garlic takes at least three weeks to cure. Then, if stored properly, garlic should last through the next spring!


For the farm crew,

Starr

Summer CSA Week 9, 2022

Emily, Ellis and Janaki packing Monday CSA boxes

We have full and diverse box for you this week. We had all hands on deck to harvest everything in time for Monday deliveries! Annie and Ellis were even helping packing boxes. This week new in the box we have cilantro, dill, onion, hot pepper, and new potatoes. “New potatoes” are young tender potatoes.


In your share this week:

Carrots – Cilantro – Cucumber – Dill – Greens Mix – Lettuce – Onion – Snap Peas – Hot Pepper – New Potatoes – Tomato – Zucchini


Terri harvesting dill in the field.

Georgian Cilantro Sauce

This sweet, pungent sauce is a mainstay of Georgian national cuisine, often served with grilled meat, chicken or vegetables. It’s great way to use fresh summer herbs!

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces dried apricots
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ⅓ cup shelled walnuts (1 ounce)
  • 2 to 4 garlic cloves (to taste), halved, green shoots removed
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves (2 good-size bunches), coarsely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups parsley leaves (1 1/2 bunches), coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped mixed basil, tarragon, and dill
  • 5 tablespoons walnut oil (or more, to taste) (substitute with unrefined peanut oil, or olive oil)
  • ½ cup soaking water from the apricots, as needed

Instructions

  1. Place the dried apricots in a bowl and pour on the boiling water. Let sit for at least an hour, more if possible, even overnight. Drain over a measuring cup and retain 1/2 cup of the soaking water.
  2. Turn on a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and drop in the garlic. When it is chopped and adhering to the sides of the bowl, stop the machine and scrape down the bowl. Add the walnuts, and process with the garlic. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the drained apricots, the lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne to the bowl, and process to a puree. Add the cilantro and other chopped herbs, and puree, stopping the machine to scrape down the sides several times. Combine the walnut oil and soaking water from the apricots, and with the machine running, gradually add it to the puree. Process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and let sit for one hour. Taste and adjust salt. Serve with beans, chicken, meat or fish, grilled or roasted vegetables, or grains.

From the New York Times.


Crushed New Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (450 grams) baby potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • 1 teaspoon parsley or basil
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Boil slightly salted water, then throw your baby potatoes into the pot. Leave them to cook for 15-20 minutes or until they’re cooked through and soft.
  2. Grease your baking tray with olive oil, and get the potatoes out of the pot and onto the baking tray.
  3. Lightly crush the potatoes with a fork or a potato masher, but make sure not to over do it as you don’t want really flat pieces of potato all over your baking sheet.
  4. Using the excess olive oil on the baking tray, light brush the potatoes with the olive oil.
  5. Season with freshly ground black pepper, and sea salt.
  6. Sprinkle with either dried or fresh herbs and garlic.
  7. Bake in the oven for 10-15 more minutes at 200°C (392°F). The baking time depends on the size of your potatoes, so keep checking on them as they bake.
  8. Served Immediately. 

From Little Sunny Kitchen.


Janaki and the farm crew bagging up snap peas. Yes, he is indeed that talll!

For the farm crew,

Starr

Summer CSA Week 6, 2022

Cucumbers ripening in the greenhouse

It’s hot and the CSA boxes are bursting! New in the box this week is Swiss chard and napa cabbage. We hope you’re staying hydrated and wearing plenty of sunblock and enjoying the heat!


In your share this week:

Swiss Chard – Napa Cabbage – Lettuce – Cucumbers – Green Onions – Broccoli – Carrots with Tops – Beets – Parsley – Garlic Scapes


Vegan Borscht

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 medium beets

3 small carrots (~1 1/4 medium carrots)

2 medium red-skinned potatoes

2/3 medium onion diced (approximately 2/3 cups, try substitution with the green onions in your box!)

2 stalks celery, diced

1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

5 cups vegetable stock

1 1/4 cups shredded red cabbage

1 1/4 cups chopped beet greens or chard

1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or to taste

freshly ground black pepper or to taste

1/4 cup sour cream vegan or regular (optional)

Instructions

  1. Begin by prepping your vegetables. Peel the beets. Scrub the carrots and potatoes. Dice everything up. It’s best if the beets are a slightly smaller dice than the rest as they take a little longer to cook (you could also shred them in a food processor).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion and celery and sauté for 5 minutes or until slightly softened. Add the diced carrots and cook for an additional minute or two.
  3. Tumble in the beets and the potatoes. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until root vegetables are al dente.
  4. Tip in the cabbage and beet greens. Bring soup back up to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Vegetables should be tender.
  5. Sprinkle in the dill and the vinegar. Season the borscht to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Ladle borscht into bowls and serve with a dollop of vegan or regular sour cream.

Notes

Cool completely before refrigerating the leftovers in airtight containers. Borscht will keep for up to five days in the fridge and up to six months in the freezer.

Based off a recipe from Simple Bites.


Beets and Chard

Did you know beets and chard are actually the same plant, Beta vulgaris? If you’ve grown both in your home garden, you may have noticed the similarities between the seeds and the leaves. The difference is that Swiss chard has been bred to favor leaf production, while beets have been bred to favor sweet fleshy roots.

The vegetables we eat didn’t just appear in the wild one day. Desirable traits have been “selected” for thousands of years to develop the tasty crops we enjoy today. Seeds are saved from plants that show the genetic variations we enjoy (more leaves versus fleshier roots) and then crossed through pollination with other plants with desirable traits so the offspring are better and better for human production and consumption. Please note, this is different from genetically modified which is done in a laboratory versus going through the generations of plants crossing for desirable traits already present in the species.

Rows of chard in the field

Resources for Veg Care and Use!

Remember to use the Vegetable Guide! Click the link below to see a pdf that describes most of the Food Farms crops and how to best care for the produce:

For the farm crew,

Starr

Summer CSA Week 3, 2022

Ellis with turnips

Welcome to summer! June 21st was the Summer Solstice, the longest day and shortest night of the year. We received 15 hours 52 minutes on the farm!


In your share this week:

Green Top Beets – Lettuce – Green Onions – Pac Choi – Radishes – Spinach – Salad Turnips


A note on this week’s spinach: our previous batches of spinach have come from our greenhouses which means they have been protected from the elements. This week’s spinach is from the field, so you may find it a little dusty from splash back from the rain and wind. We don’t wash the spinach on farm, because we find it lasts longer if we don’t get it wet before we get it to you. When you’re ready to use your spinach give it a wash, and either wash and dry the bag or transfer it to a clean bag. See how to wash greens in the video we posted last week!


Beets with greens ready to go out in a CSA share!

The beet beat: did you now every part of the beet is edible? Beets tend to mature at varying rates, so you’ll probably find a range of sizes in your bunch this week. One thing they all have in common is delicious greens! Beet greens can be prepared any way you’d prepare kale. The most common way to prepare beet greens is in a sauté. Coat a pan with olive oil and cook your greens until they are wilted and tender (5 to 8 minutes). Add minced garlic, salt and pepper, or try experiencing with any of your favorite seasonings and aromatics.


You will find lots of salad turnips in your share this week! These turnips are best eaten fresh, but can be cooked (see a recipe below). These turnips are similar to radishes, but without the spiciness. You’ll find the turnips delightfully crunchy and juicy. Throw them in a big salad or eat them straight as a snack.

Here is a turnip poem written by a nine-year-old Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It sounds like Longfellow only had access to old storage turnips. This poem might be a little more joyful if it was a fresh salad turnip they were eating, but we still love any literary ode to veggies.

Mr. Finney’s Turnip

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Mr. Finney had a turnip,
And it grew, and it grew,
And it grew behind the barn,
And the turnip did no harm.

And it grew, and it grew,
Till it could grow no taller;
Then Mr. Finney took it up
And put it in the cellar.

There it lay, there it lay,
Till it began to rot ;
When his daughter Susie washed it
And put it in the pot.

Then she boiled it and boiled it,
As long as she was able;
Then his daughter Susie took it
And put it on the table.

Mr. Finney and his wife
Both sat down to sup;
And they ate, and they ate,
Until they ate the turnip up.

Lebanese Pink Pickled Turnips

Ingredients

1 pound turnips, peeled, quartered, and sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 small beet, peeled and quartered

1 clove garlic thinly sliced

1/2 cup vinegar

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 1/2 cups water

Preparation

  1. Put turnips, beet and garlic into a wide mouth heatproof 1 quart jar.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring vinegar, salt, sugar and water to a boil. When salt and sugar are completely dissolved, pour brine over vegetables to fill the jar. Leave to cool.
  3. When completely cool, cover jar and chill for 1 week.

Caramelized Hakurei Turnips

“Hakurei” turnips are another name for salad turnips, originally developed in Japan.

Ingredients

4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the baking sheet

2 bunches hakurei turnips, greens removed, washed but not peeled

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease baking sheet lightly with olive oil.
  2. Slice the turnips about 1/4 inch thick. You can do this with the slicing disk of a food processor, an adjustable mandoline, or by hand with a knife.
  3. Combine turnips with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Toss and coat turnips.
  4. Pile turnips on prepared baking sheet, spreading them as close as possible to a single layer.
  5. Roast the turnips until they are crisp and golden around the edges, 15-20 minutes. Shuffle turnips and roast 5 minutes more. Remove from oven and top with freshly ground black pepper.

Basic Vinaigrette

Spring and early summer is the season of greens! It is easy to make your own salad dressing at home. I like to put all my vinaigrette ingredients in a jar, and shake to combine. That way any dressing I don’t use, I can leave in the fridge for a future salad! Add any seasonings and herbs you prefer for different flavors.

Ingredients

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
1 ½ teaspoon maple syrup (or agave)
1 teaspoon fine grain kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Combine!

Greenhouse after harvesting beets and scallions for Monday’s shares. Lots more tasty produce to come!

For the farm crew,

Starr

Summer CSA Week 2, 2022

Super star Food Farm member, Lynne, shows us how to unbox your veggie box and keep the produce fresh for your consumption!

Week 2 of the CSA! Our crew is back in the CSA rhythm and excited to bring you more delicious produce. Thanks to some super star volunteers we have an educational video for you about how to take care of the producing coming in your shares. Experienced CSA members and newbies alike will benefit from watching the video above!

Things are moving fast here at the farm, the hustle intensifies in hot weather as both crops and weeds develop quickly and need attention. On a related note: that’s why there are three heads of lettuce in your share this week!


In your share this week:

Broccoli – Head Lettuce – Oregano – Pac Choi – Potatoes – Radishes – Spinach


This share includes the last of the 2021 potatoes. This is very late to store potatoes, so please keep them in the refrigerator and use them quickly. If your potatoes sprout you can still break off the sprouts and use the potato as usual. You’ll have potatoes in your box again in August when our first crop of “new” potatoes is ready.


Greek Potatoes

Ingredients

6 servings

6 medium potatoes, cubed (3 pounds)

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (~2 1/2 lemons)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

11/2 tablespoon fresh oregano

2 garlic gloves, minced

3 cups hot water

chopped fresh parsley

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Toss together potatoes, lemon juice, salt, pepper, oregano and garlic in a deep flat pan about 8 x 12 inches. Add water to the pan.
  3. Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 475. Stir every 20 minutes adding more if needed to prevent sticking. Be careful not to burn in the last 30 minutes of cooking. During the final 15 to 20 minutes, allow water to evaporate.
  4. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

You can also try recipes from past newsletters like:

Pac Choi and Shiitake Stir-fry

Quick, spicy pickled radishes


The Free Range Film Festival is THIS WEEK. This is your opportunity to come out to Wrenshall and watch independent films in a beautiful historic barn. Friday and Saturday at 7pm. There will also be music by Darin Bergsven and the Denfeld Honors Quartet and a food truck on site. We’d love to see you there!

909 County Road 4, Wrenshall MN

June 24 & 25, 7:00pm

While there is officially no charge for admission, the organizers do ask audience members for a $10 donation to help pay for barn maintenance.

For the farm crew,

Starr

Summer CSA Week 1, 2022

Planting broccoli

Welcome to the 2022 summer CSA season! Thank you for being part of our community. You enable us to do what we love! After a cool slow start up, it’s starting to look like summer. The dry weather of the last two weeks have been great for getting field work done and the farm is finally looking lush and green. The farm crew has been hard at work weeding and planting, and we’re excited to begin harvesting as well!


In your share this week:

Dill – Greens Mix – Head Lettuce – Potatoes – Rhubarb – Spinach


Potatoes in June? Yes! This is a first for us–we had such a good crop last fall that we were able to save some for the first two shares. This is very late in their storage life, however, so please keep them in the refrigerator or they will sprout quite quickly. Sprouts aren’t bad though, so just break them off and use the potato as usual.

A note on the greens mix: our greens mix includes a special blend of kale, mustard and other members of the brassica plant family. This year we have seen an increase in flea beetle activity, which leaves little holes in the leaves of these plants. This is totally harmless; in fact, in French markets people seek out greens with these holes because it demonstrates the produce was grown organically without harmful pesticides! This can however increase the product’s spiciness. The greens mix makes excellent fresh eating in salads, but if you find this batch too spicy for you, a quick cook will mellow out the flavor. Try adding the greens mix to soup or lightly sautéing the greens with olive oil, a dash of salt and any other preferred spices.

Lilacs overlooking the fields

I love the German variation on potato salad. With its olive oil and vinegar base, it is much lighter and brighter than the Midwestern mayonnaise based recipes. This brightness allows the herbs to really shine in this dish. When parsley comes into season, you can also try substituting the dill for bacon and parsley. Enjoy!

German Potato Salad with Dill (From Bon Appétit)

Ingredients

6 Servings

2 pounds small potatoes, halved and scrubbed

¼ cup olive oil

½ onion, chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

4 scallions, sliced

2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

1teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted

Preparation

Step 1: Cover potatoes with cold salted water, bring to a boil, and cook until tender; drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Step 2: Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes.

Step 3: Remove from heat and mix in vinegar. Add to potatoes along with scallions, dill, and caraway seeds and toss, crushing potatoes slightly; season with salt and pepper.

You can also try recipes from past newsletters like:

Dilly Veggie Dip

Spinach and Quinoa Patties

Rhubarb Vanilla Compote


Finding Archived Recipes

You can now search previously posted Food Farm recipes using the “Tag Cloud” below. If you click an ingredient below it will take you to a list of the newsletters that include a recipe using that ingredient. Larger text means there are many recipes using that ingredient while smaller text means fewer recipes have been tagged so far.

Basil Beet Bell Pepper Broccoli Brussels Sprouts Cabbage Carrot Carrot Leaf Cauliflower Celery Chard Chives Cilantro Cucumber Daikon Radish Delicata Squash Dill Dressing/Sauce Egg Garlic Garlic Scape Green Bean Green Onion Kale Leek Mint Napa Cabbage Onion Parsley Parsnip Pepper Potato Radish Red Onion Red Potato Rutabaga Scallion Shallot Spinach Thyme Tomato Turnip Winter Squash Yellow Onion Zucchini

We hope this will help you explore new and old recipes and take advantage of the produce in your share!

Chester, the Great Pyrenees and Food Farm guardian

For the farm crew,

Starr

Summer CSA Week 8

We’re grateful for the half inch of rain we got on Saturday- and we’d like to place an order for more on Monday… but no hail this year please! It is hard to know the total of what damage the hail did last year exactly – but it definitely made the 2020 season feel more Biblical than ever- and not in a nice way.

I am excited for potatoes this week. New potatoes are so extra tasty, tender, and fresh feeling. You could do anything you want with them and it would be delicious. However – if I were you, I’d keep it simple with the potatoes the first few weeks. You have all winter to cover them up with mayonnaise, cheese, or gravy. These first potatoes are so good roasted and then smashed with herbs and butter, or in a potato salad with a bright dressing as opposed to something creamy. Of course- if you’ve been waiting months for local-cheesy hashbrowns, I won’t stand in your way.

Potatoes are such a great vegetable. Even people who don’t like vegetables like them, that’s how great they are. And, while fries and potato chips are not sustainable every day options, potatoes really are quite nutritious as an every day food. They are such a staple of so many recipes from European countries, but they really only made it from the Americas to Europe around five hundred years ago, give or take. In some ways, that isn’t really so long ago.

The share is moving in a particularly American direction this week with the addition of potatoes, peppers and of course the tomatoes and zucchini. What a tremendous amount of work and attention must have happened to breed otherwise poisonous plants into what would become near-global staples. I feel grateful, but of course the how and why these vegetables made it halfway around the world and back is not a happy one for the people who originally bred and worked over plots of potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and squashes. I wish there was a word that mixed joyful gratitude with un-payable debt.

Whatever that word would be, perhaps it will hover over you as you prepare meals from your share this week. I am sure they will all be delicious.

For the farm crew,

Karin


In your share this week:
Broccoli – Carrots – Cauliflower – Cucumbers – Dill – Lettuce – Green Onions – Parsley – Peas – Peppers – Potatoes! – Tomatoes – Zucchini

How to Freeze Broccoli

Janaki is feeling super guilty for sending so much broccoli, so here’s a quick tutorial on how to freeze it so it’s not so overwhelming. You can certainly find videos on YouTube for how to do it, but a lot of them seem too fussy. We like to get things done fast here at the farm, so here’s the farmer way:

Supplies:

1 large stockpot or saucepan, ideally with a steamer basket

Colander

Ziploc quart freezer bags

Ice (optional)

Salad spinner (optional but awesome)

Broccoli (not optional)

Cut the broccoli into smallish similarly-sized pieces, I usually shoot for around 1.5-2″ diameter. Stems can be used as well, though they’re more dense so should be cut smaller/thinner so they blanch in the same amount of time. I only use the tender part of the stems, but you can use the lower part as well if you want to peel to remove the tough skin.

Once your pot of water is boiling well, fill the steamer with broccoli pieces. (Boiling also works, but I prefer steaming). If you cram it really full they don’t cook evenly, so you’ll have to judge the right amount based on the size of your pot. For mine it’s about enough for 1 1/2 bags.

Set a timer for 3 minutes and fill both sides of your sink with water. Put in ice on one side. When the timer is done, dump the steamer basket into the colander. Put that into the side without ice. Refill the steamer basket and reset the timer.

After about 90 seconds, move the colander to the ice bath. Just before the timer goes off, dump the colander into the salad spinner and take the broccoli out of the pot, into the sink, etc.

Spin the broccoli in the spinner to remove excess water. If you don’t have one, just shake the excess off in the colander. Some people pat it dry with a towel but I don’t think you need to be that finicky. Take it out of the spinner and stuff it into bags. Put the bags in the freezer.

Label the bags first so you know what year it’s from. If you forget that part, don’t worry just eat it faster. If you only have a single basin sink, don’t worry, just use more ice. If you don’t have ice, don’t worry. The faster you cool it down the longer it keeps, but I’ve eaten broccoli that’s several years old and it’s usually fine.

If you get really fast/impatient like me, you can have two steamers going at once and still keep up as long as you don’t have any “helpers” in the kitchen.

Final step: make someone else clean up, you’ve done your part. (I still haven’t figured out that step yet.) That’s it, good luck!


Tzatziki Sauce

From Cookie and Kate

  • 2 cups grated cucumber (from about 1 medium 10-ounce cucumber, no need to peel or seed the cucumber first, grate on the large holes of your box grater)
  • 1 ½ cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint and/or dill
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  1. (Karin’s side note on straining: I would use either cheese cloth, a clean flour-sack towel or a sturdy strainer you could push against to strain water out… or, do it her way): Working with one big handful at a time, lightly squeeze the grated cucumber between your palms over the sink to remove excess moisture. Transfer the squeezed cucumber to a serving bowl, and repeat with the remaining cucumber.
  2. Add the yogurt, olive oil, herbs, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to the bowl, and stir to blend. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Taste and add additional chopped fresh herbs, lemon juice, and/or salt, if necessary (I thought this batch was just right as-is).
  3. Serve tzatziki immediately or chill for later. Leftover tzatziki keeps well, chilled, for about 4 days.

February Winter Share

Now we have four Winter Shares done, and two to go! I hope that you all are well into the swing of using these storage-time staples each month. It can be nice to settle into patterns and familiar recipes. I’ve been through a few: hashbrowns, cubed and sautéed roots together with an egg on top, spicy coleslaw, miso soup, chocolate-chocolate chip cookies with peanut butter. Oh wait, that’s a different category.

If your go-to recipes are starting to feel more like a rut, and less like a comfort, I hope you can find some ways to add some pep and switch things up this month. Making a meal plan change can be as easy as trying a new condiment, or digging into the back of the spice cupboard and see what has fallen out of use for a while (not too long though… they do go bad [mom]). If you normally reach for lemon juice to brighten dishes, try a new vinegar, or some wine.

I know I’ve said before, that I have learned more about cooking from friends and roommates than I ever have from a cook-book or blog. From canning tomatoes to homemade pita bread to massaged kale to chopping food small enough- my friends didn’t even know the lessons they passed on just by sharing a kitchen.

The joy of cooking and preparing food together is something I miss. Sharing meals and passing dishes around a table to friends or family is going to be the first thing I do whenever those kinds of things can happen again. I am sure I will cry the first time.

With the sharing of food in groups missing, the connection between food and community might feel non-existent at times. Maybe if you split your share with another family you have an additional sense of connection as you sort through boxes together or drop food off. I am glad that at least, with the food you get from our farm, we are all still connected, and your support is a critical part of how we can do what we do. Indeed, of why we do what we do.

Even if you find yourself alone over a plate of uninspired-feeling (but delicious tasting) roasted delicata some time this month… you might not actually be as alone in that as you think.

For the farm crew,

Karin


In your share this month:
Beets – Purple and Orange Carrots – Green Cabbage – Delicata Squash – Onions – Parsnips* – Red and Baby Yellow Potatoes


*A note on our tiny little parsnips: this crop got 2020ed (is that be a verb now?), and the replanted ones didn’t have time to size up very well. I would recommend NOT peeling them, but scrubbing them well instead. The rusty, oxidized look on the outside shouldn’t affect the taste. They are just too small to peel. Here’s to next year’s planting going better.


Potato-Parsnip Latkes with Horseradish and Dill
From the Smitten Kitchen

Yield: About 18 2 1/2 to 3-inch latkes

Pancakes
1/2 pound (about 1 large) potato
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 pound parsnips (Farm note: you got 1 1/2 lbs in your share, and you could probably get away with using all of them in this)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil (or a mix of olive and vegetable or peanut oil) for frying

Sauce
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon freshly grated or prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon chopped dill

Preheat: Oven to 250 degrees. Line one large or two smaller baking sheets with foil and leave them in the oven until needed.

Prepare vegetables: grate them on the large holes of a box grater or (my preferred method) using the shredding blade of a food processor.

Transfer shredded vegetables to a lint-free dishtowel or square of cheesecloth, and wring out as much liquid as possible. Let stand for two minutes, then wring again. Wetness is the enemy of crisp, light latkes, so we want to get rid of as much as possible.

Make batter: Transfer wrung-out vegetables to a large bowl. Add lemon juice. In a tiny dish, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and any herbs or additional seasonings and toss with vegetables, evenly coating the strands. In the same tiny dish, whisk your egg(s) and then stir this into the vegetable-flour mixture, evenly coating the strands.

Prepare pan: Heat a large, heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Once skillet is hot, add 3 tablespoons oil and heat oil until shimmering. If you’re unsure, you can flick a droplet of water onto the oil; if it hisses and sputters, you’re good to go.

Cook: Using a fork or your fingertips (letting the eggy batter drain off a little is good), gather spoonful-sized mounds of battered vegetables and drop them onto the heated skillet. When golden underneath, 3 to 4 minutes later, flip pancakes. Cook on the other side until nicely bronzed underneath, another 2 to 3 minutes, and transfer to paper towels briefly to drain pancakes, before transferring them again to tray(s) in warm oven. If latkes cook too quickly or slowly on the stove, adjust the heat accordingly.

Add more oil if needed (you want to keep the pan at that 3 tablespoon level), being sure it is heated before adding more pancakes to the skillet. Repeat with remaining batter. I like to keep the latkes in the oven for at least 10 minutes to ensure they’ve cooked through before serving them. This gives you time to…

Make sauce: Mix sauce ingredients in a small dish. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Beet and Carrot salad with Currants
From the Leek and the Carrot

4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dried currants (or cranberries)
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
2 large (or 1 extra-large) beets, peeled
3-4 large carrots, peeled
2 apples
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
1-2 cups chopped and toasted almonds

  1. In a small bowl, combine garlic, currants and vinegar. Let currants plump and garlic mellow in there for at least 20 minutes. It will likely take that long to get your veggies cut up anyhow.
  2. Cut the beets, carrots and apples into matchsticks and place in a large bowl. Squeeze with lemon and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine then add the garlic and currant mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and toss several more times to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  3. When ready to eat, serve with toasted almonds. If not eating all at once, keep toasted almonds to the side and add right before eating so they maintain their crunch.

Summer CSA Week 10

A couple of weeks ago we walked through some fields – with newly sprouted cover crop – to pull out some of the towering (compared to the baby cover crop!) pig weed and lambs quarter. Looking across the fields they looked much better after, though when we were in there we could see plenty more weeds that we may get to at some point. Maybe.

Soon Janaki will be doing trip after trip with the old dump truck full of manure from a local cattle farm. The manure gets turned and composted and turned again and composted some more (a few cycles of that over weeks) and then can get used on fields next year to add rich nutrition to the soil.

Next year, crops will be moved around to avoid being planted in the same places as this year. That way we can avoid disease, pests (hopefully), and the plants can go into fields that have had time, cover crop, and nutrition added back in. Our healthy soil and extra work to maintain it keeps our vegetables healthy, and the farm healthy for years to come.

Janaki has some of the rotating stuff down to a science (I mean spreadsheets), but much of it is still an art. He knows what fields may have low spots that will be wet in spring, and can’t be used for early crops. He knows which ones have heavier, and richer soil that might be good to go to plant into, and which ones might need some organic fertilizer added in. He has a rotation of cover crops that works well for us down to a science too. Bare fields can equal sad soil, and having crops that add organic matter, or elusive nitrogen naturally back into the soil is a must for organic agriculture.

It’s a cycle of wholeness. And it leads to some pretty good whole food.

I wish I could say that everything I eat or otherwise consume follows this same pattern, or puts back what it takes out from the planet. I can’t say that; though I hope to keep moving that direction.
More and more, it is so challenging to me when I think of what things cost on the shelf not always being reflective of how much they really cost from an environmental (yes, that includes humans too!) perspective.

The truth is the cost on the shelf for organic food, or organic clothing (or non-toxic baby mattresses as I’ve found out) is an insurmountable barrier for many people, both here and around the world. I don’t want to minimize that. It’s a real problem.

Conventional agriculture is also a problem. Perhaps many of you have our CSA share because you already know this and are bothered by mono-cropping, pesticide use, loss of top soil and the list of negativity goes on.

Might I add another to the list.

Ammonium nitrate.
The elusive nitrogen that all crops (corn needs a lot, for example) require. Ammonium nitrate is one of the fertilizers that gets used around the world, in staggering quantities, in the production of all kinds of non-organic crops.

And it’s a bomb.
I feel like I should say it “can be” a bomb. It’s very often used for agriculture, but it’s also also used in war. And, I’m sure many of you remember exactly where you were on April 19th, 1995.

And in Beirut… does it matter now what the original purpose of it’s manufacture or intended destination was? Does it matter that it *could have been* fertilizer if it becomes a bomb in the middle of a city anyway?

I was living and farming in Waco, Texas when a fertilizer plant 25 minutes north, in the town of West, exploded. At the time it happened, I was video chatting with friends at a cafe, and it was only after the call ended that I realized that I had been half-hearing sirens the entire time through my head phones. When I went inside to return my cup (and to see if anyone knew what was going on), the TVs were all on, and everyone was silent or on phones trying to call friends or family.
You’d be forgiven for not remembering, it was two days after the Boston Marathon bombing.

I had no idea that that plant was up there, and if I would have known I had no idea at the time what ammonium nitrate was. I am sure many (most?) people in Beirut or in the whole of Lebanon didn’t know that tons of the stuff was being, almost randomly, disastrously, stupidly stored at their port.

I think as humans we just can’t keep up with how dangerous our world is. How much danger we add to it. We won’t be able to control storms, or drought, or volcanoes (though our actions surly add to the devastation they cause). But what we can and do add in the way of poisons, bombs… it’s overwhelming.

I wish this could be a swords to plowshares kind of post… but the materials we’re talking about aren’t nearly as simple as hammering metal into a different shape. If only that was the task we were undertaking. Again, so what if it’s destined to be fertilizer if it blows up anyway?

By partaking in the food from your CSA share each week you’re taking steps (and power!) away from the machine that seems to roll along in our world and hurt so much in it’s path. You’re taking steps (and giving power!) to safer, cleaner alternatives. It’s hard to feel like we have much power in the face of such destruction, or in the face of such wide-spread unsustainability, but the power we do have we can wield. Even by wielding your fork.

For the farm crew,

Karin

 

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In your share this week: Green Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Cucumbers, Dill, Lettuce Mix, Green Onions, Parsley, Green Peppers, New Potatoes, Tomatoes, Zucchini


 

Many of you long-time members will remember the porch at 427 N. 16th Avenue East. The Benson’s have been members since the beginning–before the beginning, actually. Their porch served as a pickup site from 1994 until this year because they were anticipating the sale of their home. It is officially on the market this week, and I promised a number of people that I would pass along the listing once it was up. Since I don’t remember who that was, I’m sending it along to everyone in the hopes that this special place might stay in the Food Farm family: https://s.paragonrels.com/goto/2_IPp

 

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It doesn’t hurt that weeds can be so beautiful.

 

Refrigerator Pickled Green Beans

Can double or triple.

  • 5 ounces green beans
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 small dried chile
  • 1/8 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Before you trim the green beans, arrange them vertically in a 1-pint jar to see how many will fit. Pack them in as tightly as you can—once you add the hot liquid, they will shrink just a bit, so feel free to really cram them in.

  3. Remove the beans from the jar and trim them to fit, leaving at least 1/2 inch of head-space. Pack the trimmed beans back into the jar.

  4. Peel the garlic and cut it into quarters. Stuff the garlic pieces into the jar with the green beans.

  5. Add the coriander seeds, dried chile, peppercorns, and the bay leaf into the jar around the beans.

  6. Put the vinegar, wine, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil over high heat and boil for 2 minutes (the sugar and salt should be completely dissolved).

  7. Pour the hot mixture over the beans. The liquid should completely cover all of the beans. Screw on the lid and let the jar sit until it’s cooled to room temperature.

  8. Once the jar is cool, refrigerate the bean pickles for at least 2 days or up to 6 months before eating.

 

Herby Potato and Green Bean Salad

From Taproot Magazine

1 1/2 lb potatoes, cubed
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 lb green beans
6-8 radishes
1/4 medium onion
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh dill
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
3-5 green onions (to taste)

Dressing:

1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/4 c olive oil
2 Tbsp grainy mustard
2 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp honey’
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Boil or steam potatoes. Boil or steam beans. If boiling, add plenty of salt to water. Chill beans after cooking in ice water. Salt after steaming/rinsing.

Fold the chopped herbs and radishes, beans, and potatoes once cooled.

Lightly toast mustard seeds on medium low heat in a pan, stirring to avoid burning. Crush seeds in mortar with a pestle. Shake all dressing ingredients together in a jar.

Gently mix dressing into salad, taste for salt. Serve a bit warm, or out of the fridge up to 4 days later.

 

 

 

 

November Winter Share

farm to table (1)

 

Welcome to the first Winter Share of the season! The warm and colorful part of the autumn is very much past, the evenings are dark and it is time to start getting in the wintery culinary mood!

I love this time of year, and I know I’ve said so every winter newsletter for a couple of years now. It’s still true. I love the subdued colors of everything, and cold wind on my face and snow falling in the sunshine. I love planning exactly what I should wear outside, and thinking about how I’m so great at planning outfits for winter activities… until I start shedding extra layers along a trail to retrieve on my way back.

I love eating as many potatoes as I want (job perk!). I love getting into a different “breakfast rut” each winter. Two years ago it was hash browns. Last year it was carrots, parsnips (stay tuned for them in later shares!) and potatoes all cooked in a pan with yogurt or ketchup on top.

This year my favorite part of the season will be coming up in just a couple of months: my infant son’s first bites of food. I am so excited for him to eat with me out of the root cellar at the farm. I haven’t decided which of the veggies will be his first. Probably carrots or squash. Or parsnips. Or potatoes. Or rutabaga. I feel so lucky to start him off with such wholesome, good quality food. What a blessing.

Thinking about my boy, and what and how I want him to eat as he grows has been fun, and also challenging for me. It has required me to look at how I eat and my imperfect relationship to food. I want him to have good food, the best food. Healthy and as much organic as possible. But that’s not really all of it. Not at all. I also want food to be something that he sees is worth spending time planning, preparing, and sitting down for.  I want to show him that there is value in investing time and money in food. I don’t want to treat the preparation of food like an inconvenience that just needs to be got over as quickly as possible. And by the time he’s taking his first bites I want to do less eating above the kitchen sink, and more sitting down. Even if it’s just for a fried egg sandwich in the morning.

I say that now. But I recognize that our meals won’t always be balanced, or include a complete protein, or be organic or mostly local. Maybe sometimes they’ll be mostly take-out pizza. And, I want him to see that too, and not see it as a thing of shame. There should be so much LESS shame and embarrassment around familial and personal food choices. Because it isn’t easy to always make the ideal choices we’d like to imagine ourselves making.

At the end of it all, I want him to learn joy- the joy of food in our lives. Food is work, fun, tasty, beautiful, communal, and sustaining.

So thank you for taking on a counter-cultural approach to food with us this winter season. Thanks for being willing to slow things down a bit and put your money down on something of quality.

Whether this is your first or tenth Winter Share with us, welcome or welcome back! I hope this season of local produce finds you well, and keeps you trying new ways of cooking with old staples.

With joy,

Karin


Potatoes with Shaved Celery Salad

(I think in newsletters of yore, I have mentioned that I don’t tend to be much of a recipe follower. Perhaps some of you are though, and perhaps you also got celeriac instead of celery. Ah! If I were you, I’d still give this recipe a whirl, but I would roast scrubbed and halved celeriac until tender (an hour or so) and chop it after that to toss with the salad. But I am not you, so perhaps you’d like to simply roast it with oil and salt and enjoy as is!)

  • 2 1/2 pounds red potatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated red onion
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups thinly diagonally sliced celery
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring 12 cups water and potatoes to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes. Add vinegar; simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Drain. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet; cool.

Combine buttermilk and next 8 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Stir in potatoes. Stir in celery and pepper. Chill at least 1 hour.

 

Curried Carrot and Coconut Soup

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • ¾ pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch coins
  • 1 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander, to taste
  •  Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  •  Juice from ½ lime
  •  Salt and freshly ground pepper
  •  Cilantro, if you have it
  1. Heat the butter until the foam subsides. Add the diced chopped onions, sprinkle with salt, stir to coat with butter. Add the chopped carrots along with the spices. Stir and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the stock; there should be enough to cover the vegetables. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the carrots are cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. If you have an immersion blender, purée the soup in the pot. If not, wait until the soup cools slightly, and purée in a food processor. Add enough coconut milk (and a little more stock or water if necessary) to bring the soup to the consistency you want. Adjust the seasoning (depending on the stock you use, you may need more or less salt), and lime juice to taste. Garnish and serve.